Disneyland in October: Tips on Visiting for Halloween, Navigating Crowds, and What to Expect

Disneyland in October is a popular month to visit Disneyland as the Halloween celebrations, entertainment, and attraction overlays are all in full swing!

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Everyone has personal preferences to consider when planning the date of their Disneyland trip- each season will have its pros and cons and guests' choices will vary based on those. Make sure to read our Disneyland crowd calendar to get an idea of what to expect when picking a date to visit Disneyland.

Keep reading for everything you need to know about visiting Disneyland in October including current events, what weather to expect, crowd level predictions, and what to pack!

Disneyland Events in OctoberFantasmic

Here are all the current events to know about impacting Disneyland in October!

Halloween at Disneyland

Halloween at Disneyland has increased in popularity each year and has even begun to rival the Christmas season! The Halloween season runs until October 31st so the full month of October is a great time to experience all of the decorations, entertainment, ride overlays, and food to celebrate Halloween! Disneyland will see at least one themed attraction, Haunted Mansion Holiday, for the Halloween season.

Halloween Screams- Firework and Projection Show

And for the first time in nearly a decade, the special projection and fireworks show Halloween Screams will be available nightly for all guests since this year California Adventure will host the Halloween party and not Disneyland.

Oogie Boogie Bash at California Adventure

The yearly ticketed Halloween Party event will take place at Disney's California Adventure with a party called Oogie Boogie Bash. The event consists of Halloween entertainment, opportunities to wear costumes in the parks, meet and greets, and more.

  • This is an important point for all guests visiting during October: If you don’t have a park hopper ticket then you will be forced to leave California Adventure early in the evening and have nowhere to go but back to your hotel or home. Disney will close California Adventure early for the party and force any non-party guests to exit at least an hour before the party begins around 5pm. Make sure to get a park hopper ticket if you don’t plan on attending the ticketed event so you can hop over to Disneyland when the party starts!

Oogie Boogie's Bash takes place on October 1, 3, 6, 8, 10, 13, 15, 17, 20, 22, 24, 27, 29, and 31 . Read more about how to purchase tickets and plan for the event here.

Universal Studios Hollywood's Halloween Horror Nights

While this isn't strictly Disneyland related, it's worthwhile to mention that Universal Studios Hollywood will also be in full swing for their Halloween celebrations. For guests that are looking to take a break from Disneyland and spend a day at Universal Studios, it's important to be aware of these Halloween Horror Nights which are much more adult focused than the Halloween festivities at Disneyland.

Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge

Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge opened this past summer at the Disneyland resort and surprised everyone with fairly low and reasonable crowds! Many guests avoided traveling this summer in fear of large crowds which means they may be coming in the Fall to experience both this new land and the Halloween season. Disney will utilize their Boarding Pass option when the crowds get heavy. Once the land hits capacity, Disney then implements a virtual queue system (Boarding Passes!) that guests can book through their Disneyland app or at kiosks inside the park. The virtual system works in the same way FastPass does. Once enough guests leave the land, you will get a notification that it's time to enter and you will have two hours to claim your spot. Make sure to read our guide to Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge for land reviews, tips and tracks, and everything you need to know.

Gay Days

The first weekend of October the fan-created Disneyland Gay Days are held. This year Gay Days takes place October 4th-6th at Disneyland. You will see a large gathering of people wearing red in the parks to demonstrate they are members of the event. Disneyland usually offers rainbow merchandise and food offerings throughout the park in recognition of the celebration.

Disneyland October Crowd CalendarHaunted Mansion Holiday gingerbread house

This is the first Halloween season since Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge opened at Disneyland, it's hard to say how the crowds will behave this time of year. Since many guests decided to postpone their trips to Disneyland this past summer once they heard the opening date of Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge, it's possible they may have planned their trips for the Fall instead.

Halloween season starts early at Disneyland at the beginning of September which helps space out the crowds. You should prepare for large high crowd levels when visiting during Halloween as this time of year has become nearly as popular as Christmas at Disneyland.

Like I always mention in our guides, it's crucial to look at the Annual Pass Blockout Date calendar on Disney's website. Most Annual Passholders are unblocked for the month of October with just a few of the lower tier passes being restricted Friday-Sundays which means you may find weekends to be less busy than weekdays at the parks. Local passholders make up a significant part of Disneyland's guest population so it's always important to consider their blockout dates when planning your trip.

Guests visiting Disneyland in October also have the extra hurdle of Oogie Boogie Bash at California Adventure. If you don't have a party ticket, you will be asked to leave the park around 5pm. It's important to plan ahead for those dates so you have a plan in place for once the party starts. In the past the first start of the day before the Halloween party is actually low in crowd levels as many party goers don't enter the parks until later in the day when their Halloween party ticket allows saving them the cost of a full day ticket. It can actually be a wise decision to start off the day early at the park hosting the Halloween party to beat some of those crowds. Just make sure you leave in time to head over to Disneyland!

You can still have a great vacation even if Disneyland is crowded as long as you plan ahead. Make dining reservations, consider booking a dining package for anticipated nighttime shows, learn how to use MaxPass along with FastPass, and arrive early to the parks every day. Even on an extremely crowded day, being there 30 minutes before the park officially opens allows you to experience the park with smaller crowds. Those two or three hours before 11AM are the best- don't miss out. Read our full guide on handling crowds to prepare yourself for visiting Disneyland in October.

Disneyland Weather in OctoberMater and Lightning in Halloween costumes

Disneyland in October will start to cool down with the average high around 76 degrees and the average low around 63 degrees. You may still have some days that reach up to the 80's so it's good to be prepared just in case.

So don't confuse a visit in the Fall with the Fall seasons of the Midwest! You're coming to California and you will still have warm weather that may feel like summer heat to some folks from colder climates. The days still stay long with the average day lasting nearly 12 hours providing ample sunshine for your park days.

Tips for Visiting Disneyland in OctoberMickey and Minnie halloween costumes

When it comes to visiting Disneyland in October, we have some tried and true hacks for having a magical time on your vacation.

What to Wear 

One of the most frequently asked guest questions is: what should I wear to Disneyland? Always check the weather leading up to your trip. One big mistake guests can make this time of year is assuming that visiting during the Fall means the weather will be cooler. Not exactly the case, as you saw above when we looked at average high temperatures. Plan for hot weather and bring light layers in case the nights do cool down. Bring clothes that are comfortable for you and your kids when the weather gets hot. Avoid sandals unless they're ones you know you can walk at least 7 miles a day and be comfortable!

What to Pack 

This is always such a question of personal preference, especially in the Fall months at Disneyland. Guests from warmer climates might find days with a high of 75 degrees to be more chilly than guests visiting from cold weather climates that feel that these temperatures reflect a hot summer day. Look at the weather as the days get closer to your trip and plan to pack for layers. This way you're always prepared! I would still recommend bringing swimsuits to enjoy the pool at your hotel!

If hot weather bothers you, I would still plan on bringing the hot weather necessities like sunscreen, portable fans, cooling towels, and other items all aimed at keeping you cool on hot days. If you find yourself wanting one of these while you're there, you'll end up paying a high price in the parks or at your hotel. And if you're planning on hitting the beach, don't bother bringing towels and just use the ones from your hotel.

If you plan on attending the Halloween party at California Adventure, adults and children can wear costumes! It's best to buy your costume in advance and bring it with you. Buying one on the fly in the parks or nearby stores could be time consuming and expensive. People go all out with their costumes for the Halloween parties, consider dressing up so you can join in the fun.

You can read our giant packing list here to make sure you show up prepared for literally anything you need while you're visiting Disneyland.

What to Expect

There are a few things you should expect when choosing October as your month to visit Disneyland:

  • Plan for Halloween Themed Attractions- you will see a number of favorite attractions in their Halloween themes this time of year like Haunted Mansion, Guardians of the Galaxy, and the smaller Cars Land rides. In my personal opinion, this holiday overlays is one of the best parts of Disneyland that makes it unique! But some guests don't like the changes, especially with an iconic one like Haunted Mansion, so opinions on this can be mixed. Definitely make time in your visit to see these Halloween overlays either way so you can form your own opinions. Haunted Mansion receives a Nightmare Before Christmas theme and this theme is so immersive and over the top that some guests prefer it over the original. Over in California Adventure, you will see Halloween themes on the smaller Cars land rides but the big theme takes place in the Guardians of the Galaxy- Mission: BREAKOUT! ride. Once evening falls, the ride is transformed into a monster hunt to save baby Groot.
  • Know the Halloween Party Dates- this is absolutely essential for guests visiting Disneyland in October. You need to know the dates for the Oogie Boogie Bash at California Adventure. Plan on purchasing park hopper tickets so you can hop to Disneyland when the party starts. If you do not have a party ticket, you will be asked to leave! If you plan on attending, we recommend not buying a park ticket that day as your party ticket will allow you into California Adventure a few hours before official party time.
  • Be Prepared for Warm Weather- keep in mind that Fall months do not always equal traditional Fall weather in states like California. You will still have plenty of days of hot sun and warm weather. Make sure to dress in layers and look at the weather forecast prior to departing for your trip.
  • Plan for Crowds- the Halloween season at Disneyland has increased every year in popularity and with it this has brought crowd levels to rival the crowds during the Christmas season. Come prepared to handle the crowds- many guests believe that Fall is a slow time of year when that is not necessarily the case any longer. Make sure to follow our awesome morning strategy for Disneyland and California Adventure you can be done with the major rides by lunchtime before the big crowds arrive. Getting to the gates early is the key to avoiding crowds even when visiting at a busy time of the year.
  • Tips for Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge- if you're planning on visiting Batuu, then make sure to read our guide on the new Star Wars themed land! There are a few experiences that have been extremely popular aside from the Millennium Falcon ride and it's good to show up prepared so you know where to go first. If you're not too interested in Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge, the good news is that it does ‘eat up crowds' so to speak for the rest of the park. But still make the time to at least walk through, you won't be disappointed. Disneyland has done an amazing job on this newest addition to the parks that even the most casual Star Wars fan will appreciate.

But most of all, remember to enjoy your time at the happiest place on earth!

Plan Your Disneyland Vacation!

Keep reading our blog to keep you updated on everything you need to know to prepare for a Disney Parks vacation! We have a team of writers working hard to keep you updated weekly on events in the parks and tips for navigating the magic. Subscribe to our free deals newsletter to receive helpful planning information, exclusive Disney deals, and access to the lowest priced Disney tickets anywhere. You can find more information on planning your vacation here:

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